Scottish Tories set out proposal for Local Care Service

It comes after health spokesman Sandesh Gulhane said he was ‘terrified’

Neil Pooran
Saturday 19 March 2022 16:09 GMT
The government is proposing a National Care Service (Alamy/PA)
The government is proposing a National Care Service (Alamy/PA)

The Scottish Conservatives have set out proposals for a Local Care Service, presenting it as an alternative to the Scottish Government’s planned National Care Service.

It comes after the party’s health spokesman, Sandesh Gulhane, said he was “terrified” of the prospect of the SNP-proposed centralised National Care Service.

At the heart of the Tories’ plans is a “local care guarantee” that no one would be offered care far away from their home.

The party says there is a risk this practice could become more widespread under the government’s plans.

I'm terrified of the National Care Service

Sandesh Gulhane

Speaking to the PA news agency ahead of the Local Care Service announcement, Dr Gulhane said the SNP were using the pandemic to distract from past failures in the health service.

He said: “They’re covering the past failures by having Covid as their response, it’s unacceptable.

“Their plans are non-existent on how we’re going to recover.”

He continued: “I’m terrified of the National Care Service.

“I’m terrified of the bad delivery of this government, who doesn’t trust anyone.

“They’re anti-business, they’re anti-organisations. They’re all about power and control and centralisation.”

On Saturday, the Scottish Conservatives published a policy paper which set out their concerns around the National Care Service.

It said there was a risk this plan could lead to an increase in “out-of-area care”.

However, it says the Tories accept the status quo on social care cannot continue and the extra money raised by the Health and Social Care Levy was an opportunity to change the system.

As well as a local care guarantee, it recommends giving the Care Inspectorate more power to drive up standards.

Kevin Stewart said the government was committed to a National Care Service (Andrew Cowan)

Social care minister Kevin Stewart said:  “We are committed to the establishment of a National Care Service , with human rights embedded throughout and will continue to engage with the real experts – people with lived experience of the service – to improve future services and make things better for everyone.

“We’ve invested in recent months to increase pay in adult social care to help improve recruitment and retention in social care.

“Through the National Care Service we’re going to continue improving terms and conditions for these staff through the introduction of national pay bargaining for this sector.

“We’ve introduced free personal care for all adults who need it and in this parliament we’re going to scrap all non-residential social care charges so that the provision of their care is based on a person’s need and not their ability to pay.”

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